How Much Does it Cost to Move a Piano vs. Doing it Yourself?

If you can play the piano, you’ll know how much joy it brings you. 

But with everything that’s good in life, there’s always a bad. The piano is no different.

The major downside with pianos is they’re so darn hard to move. They’re big, heavy items that are awkward and difficult to transport.

In a hurry? Here’s the skinny…

What is the average cost to move a piano with piano movers? In 2021, the national average cost to move a piano is $394. Source: homeadvisor.com

In this article, we’ll give you the whole nine yards on the cost of moving a piano.

We’ll discuss the main things that hike up the cost (spoiler alert: if you live at the top of a high rise, you’ll be paying more). We also show you what you should expect to pay to have your pride and joy moved by a professional outfit, versus doing it yourself.

What Affects the Cost of Moving a Piano?

Let’s start with the main factors that ramp up the price.

Size, Weight, and Type

Starting with the most obvious, the cost is largely influenced by what it is you have to move.

There’s a world of difference between moving an upright piano that weighs 300 lbs and shifting a nine-foot concert grand that weighs half a ton.

Moving grand pianos is more complicated in general. Not only is the size and weight considerably different, but piano movers will also have to disassemble parts of a grand piano to get them through doorways, etc.

Distance

After type, the next factor to have a bearing on price is the distance the piano has to travel. Yes, move distance is critical.

Is it a local move? Moving from one zip code to the next in the same state by road? Then it won’t be too bad. Movers usually charge by the mile (anywhere from $1 to $3 dollars per mile is normal). Costs go up a bit when you move across state lines.

Costs go up massively when you start moving countries or continents. Taking your aunt Wilma’s concert grand overseas? Then get ready to shell out considerably more for piano shipping. Not only do you have to factor in the mover’s cost, but there’ll also be shipping and handling costs that need to be factored in too.

Obstacles / Terrain

Two guys moving piano down stairs

Ask any removal company and they’ll tell you no two moves are alike.

The word that strikes more fear in a removal company is the word ‘stairs’! Those things we take for granted most of the time (which some crazy people walk up intentionally as a form of exercise!) – yep, stairs – are the kryptonite for hard-working movers.

Even worse than stairs, the biggest challenge is the high-rise building. If you live at the top of a high building with no elevator and a tiny staircase, the piano will need to be lifted with a crane out of a window. This doesn’t come cheap.

Storage

If you’re not traveling far, the storage won’t be an issue, but any overseas trip will need to include heat-treated crating to protect it from the elements.

Professional Piano Movers vs. Removal Company

Guy with beard moving white piano

Another factor that’s often overlooked is whether you should go with a specialist piano removal company, or stick with a generic removal company.

If it’s part of a big house move, it will probably make more sense to stick with the same company, but if you’re just moving the piano (say, for example, you’ve just inherited Aunt Wilma’s concert piano) then hiring a specialist company may make a lot more sense. Professional piano movers have a lot more ‘know how’ than you’re average run-of-the-mill removal firm, which is never a bad thing.

Professional piano movers can bill you by the hour ($8 to $15 per hour per person) or a flat rate (between $100 to $2,000) based on the size and weight of your instrument.

Average Piano Moving Costs

To give you an idea of cost, here are a few types of piano with the minimum cost you’d expect to pay for a local move.

  • Any type of upright piano (Spinet / Console / Studio) – From $100
  • Baby Grand Piano – From $250
  • Grand Pianos – From $350
  • Concert Grand Piano – From $450

Piano Cartage Insurance

Should you consider taking out cartage insurance? It depends on two things: how valuable the piano is to you, and also the market value of the piano.

Most moving companies will offer insurance for this, and sometimes it’s even included in the overall move cost. The best thing is to enquire with a few removal firms to see which offer the best deal.

DIY Piano Moving Costs

Fancy doing it yourself? I’m impressed! What you have to consider is the firms that do this for a living have already paid for the equipment. As a one-off, is it really worth you buying a piano skid board for example? It’s your call.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a 4-wheel piano dolly 
  • piano skid board
  • hump strap
  • locking piano belt
  • Van or truck with a ramp

All the above is essential, you want to keep the heavy lifting to a minimum. Other than this, you’ll want some blankets and padding to wrap the piano up with, and possibly some gloves for your hands too.

Depending on the location, you may also need a stair-jockey, a genie lift, or even a crane!

Summary

So, how much does it cost to move a piano then?

Well, as we’ve seen, moving a grand piano is considerably more due to size, weight, but also just how cumbersome these instruments are. Movers will have to dismantle parts of the piano just to get it out of the building.

Finally, once you’ve moved (yay!), you’ll have to factor in piano tuning costs as the process of moving will knock the tuning out. Also, now you’re in your new home, maybe now is the time to make sure your piano is in the right position in your new home (there’s more to correct piano placement than you think). 

Moving is a lot of work. The alternative? Buy a digital piano and be done with all this nonsense! But that’s not really the point, now is it.

Good luck!

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